One day after taking a tour of Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka, Representative John Knight says there's no question something needs to be done.
"We have to address this issue," said Knight.
Built on the outskirts of Wetumpka 60 years ago, Tutwiler is old and overcrowded. The prison commissioner has recommended to the governor that the state build a new women's prison. The estimated cost? Around 75 million.
"This will definitely be in the top 5 in terms of issues coming up in the legislature this session," Knight said.
Knight says he doesn't know whether Governor Bob Riley will rubber stamp the recommendation and send it on to the legislature or come up with a plan of his own. Knight is the chairman of the powerful committee that controls the state's general fund.
"We have to consider several options like alternative sentencing or leasing," said Knight.
The request for a new prison comes on the heels of one study that shows Alabama has more than 1,000 convicts in private prisons in Louisiana. Many of them are women.
In addition to Wetumpka, Gordo, Brundidge, Livingston and Thomasville have expressed interest. The reason? Job possibilities. Tutwiler currently employs 146 people.
The regular begins March 6.